Information You NEED to Know for the 2020 Election

While San Luis Obispo mayoral candidate Cherisse Sweeney and council candidate Abrianna Torres claim to be non-partisan, the truth is far different. Both are attempting to hide their ties to the radical right-wing.

Torres attended a right-wing secession event attempting to break California into 2 states:

  • The group, called “New California” had conservative activist Candice Owens as the keynote speaker. Owens railed against Democrats and liberals making inflammatory statements like:
    • Vote by mail is a “way to cheat”, repeating a common line used by Donald Trump to undermine the election.
    • She was happy to see a room full of people without masks and that she “was afraid of socialism not a virus”.
    • Black Lives Matter was the most racist movement that has ever existed in this country.
    • The left is dumbing down education to indoctrinate marxism.
    • Attacking feminism.
  • The group wants to break away from “liberal cities” to create a conservative state that supports open carry of guns and other right-wing goals.
  • Torres proudly took a photo with Candice Owens at the event, holding a copy of her book, “Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation”.

Far Right Trump Loyalists Are Running the Sweeney and Torres Campaigns:

  • According to campaign finance reports, both Sweeney and Torres have hired Pacific Coast Strategies, LLC, a firm owned and operated by Republican political operative, Amber Johnson. According to Johnson’s LinkedIn profile, she was a Congressional Aide for former Republican Senator Darrell Issa, Campaign Manager for radical Republican Supervisor Lynn Compton, and worked at Meridian Pacific, the political consulting firm owned by Republican Supervisor John Peschong. Further, Johnson claims to have worked with the oil and gas industry to defeat anti-fracking initiatives, Measure G and Measure P, and lists being an Executive Director for the SLO County Republican Party.*

  • Campaign finance reports also list Sacramento based Political Finance Solutions, Inc. and eFundraising Connections as providing services to both campaigns. Both firms are well known Republican operations with a long list of conservative clients including the CA Republican Party and CA College Republicans.

Donations to both Sweeney and Torres come from radical far-right elected officials:

  • According to campaign finance reports, both Sweeney and Torres have received financial contributions from Republican Supervisor Debbie Arnold, who traveled to the White House and praised President Trump. Sweeney’s website even proudly lists Debbie Arnold as an endorser, along with far-right Supervisor Lynn Compton.
  • According to campaign finance reports, both Sweeney and Torres have received financial contributions from incoming Republican Santa Barbara County Supervisor Bob Nelson.
  • Both candidates campaign finance reports read as a laundry list of typical Republican donors.

Despite Calling for Unity, Cherisse Sweeney and Abrianna Torrers Embrace Divisive Conservative Media:

  • Sweeney appeared on the Andy Caldwell show, a conservative talk radio program. Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB, a far-right advocacy group. On the program Sweeney’s views were clearly Republican aligned. For example, Sweeny called California’s bail reform, “devastating”.** Bail reform ensures innocent low-income people are not kept in jail prior to judicial hearings, and instead uses a set of criteria based on community safety and flight risk concerns. Sweeney advocates actively for criminalizing the poor. Caldwell declared his endorsement of Sweeney, saying “we need her like no tomorrow”.
  • Sweeney and Torres both appeared separately on conservative talk radio, KPRL, based in Paso Robles. KPRL posts all its prior interviews on its website, and Sweeney’s interview was shared on social media by the SLO County Republican Party. Both Sweeney and Torres interviews were then quickly deleted. What are they hiding?
  • A radical conservative Facebook group with the goal of “taking back SLO” akin to “making SLO great again” quickly showed their true colors by being consistently filled with racist and inflammatory posts. The group even accused Council Member Andy Pease of being a “supporter of terrorists”. The group repeatedly championed Sweeney and Torres, and even reportedly recruited them to run for office. Sweeney and Torres actively sought the group’s support on multiple occasions.
  • Sweeney refused to condemn Trump and his actions during the recent candidate forum and said she found the question “offensive”.

Other than being an interior designer, Sweeney claims to be “a land use consultant” and have experience with environmental issues. The truth is that her experience is from profiting off the exploitation of our shared natural resources:

  • Sweeney’s “land use consulting” is from helping her family get a destructive mining operation in Santa Barbara County approved. The project actively mines a riverbed, taking natural resources for profit.
  • In an attempt to stop the project, local farmers filed an environmental lawsuit. Sweeney then helped fight the lawsuit by exploiting holes in California’s landmark Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and later criticized the law.***
  • Sweeney now personally benefits from the destruction of the riverbed and our natural resources. She cannot be trusted to protect SLO’s treasured open space and our environment.

Cherisse Sweeny didn’t live in the City of San Luis Obispo and moved here to run for mayor:

  • Sweeney told friends, colleagues and employees that she moved to SLO in September 2020 specifically to run for mayor, even though she had not lived in the city previously. She confirmed this during an interview on the Dave Congalton radio show, stating “we were living within the county limits, and when I made the commitment to take this on we moved within city limits so that I could take this on, so we did just move literally a month ago to be within city limits”.****
  • Sweeney was registered to vote at Canyon Creek Rd, a large luxurious home in Avila Beach. She then switched her registration to Church Street in SLO, a small apartment in downtown SLO. She claims to own this Church St property but has stated she does not live at it, claiming she rents it out to tenants. Property records do not reflect Sweeney as the owner. Sweeney filed to run for mayor by listing the Church St address as her home address and is currently registered to vote there. Her husband is still registered to vote at Canyon Creek Rd as a Republican. CA law requires people to be registered to vote where they live.
  • What is Sweeney hiding? Does she even live in the City of San Luis Obispo? CA law requires that filings to run for office and registering to vote be done at the address of residency.

Torres claims “the media” is lying about Blacks dying disproportionally at the hand of police.

  • The Harvard School of Public Health states Blacks are 6 times more likely than white people to be killed during police contact.
  • Torres’s attacks on the media, and her distortion of facts, mimic those of Donald Trump.
  • Torres has not supported calls for racial justice and has received the endorsement of Sheriff Ian Parkinson, who claimed “systematic racism does not exist in this County”.

Since 2008, Cherisse Sweeney failed to vote in 10 of the last 13 elections and is registered to vote as a member of the “American Independent” party, a far-right political party.

  • Voter records show Sweeney didn’t even care enough to cast a ballot since 2012.
  • The American Independent Party is best known for its nomination of Governor George Wallace of Alabama for President, who ran on a segregationist platform. Today its platform is anti-women’s choice, anti-same-sex marriage, pro 2nd amendment and strict border security. In 2016 the party joined the Republican Party in nominating Donald Trump.
  • If Sweeney was actually trying to register as an independent “No Party Preference”, the lack of knowledge of how to register to vote, coupled with the fact that she has not voted in prior elections shows she is not fit to be mayor.

Torres denies that the torture and death of Andrew Holland in the SLO County jail was neglect, and defends those who killed him.

  • This despite video evidence that Holland was left naked, strapped to a chair, for over 46 hours, left to die by Torres’s colleagues while they laughed at him in his final moments alive. This led to national and international media attention and a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement by the County.
  • Again Torres is dangerously uninformed, and cannot be trusted to deal with our County’s mental health problems.

Cherisse Sweeny allegedly violated CA law and put her employees in danger by not carrying worker’s compensation insurance, resulting in a lawsuit against her:

The SLO County Democratic Party stands against this stealth Republican takeover attempt and has endorsed the following candidates in SLO City who align with our shared Democratic Party values:

Footnotes:
* https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-johnson-41a99a7/
** https://soundcloud.com/theandycaldwellshow/tacs081820
*** https://www.independent.com/2013/03/01/cuyama-mine-can-proceed/
****http://www.920kvec.com/show/dave-congalton-hometown-radio/ (Program on 10/02/20)